Meeting at Hard Bargain Farm

Accokeek, MD, September 11, 2010: Fergie's Gardeners and the Alice Ferguson Foundation hosted District I's annual fall meeting at Hard Bargain Farm. The morning started with a brief business meeting followed by a tour of the house and gardens. We gathered at Wareham Lodge, the overnight facility for the foundation's environmental education programs:

NCAGC past president Dale Defeo, NCAGC President Mary Ellen Alden and Tanta Cove Garden Club President Poss Tarpley observe National Garden Club 1st Vice President Shirley Nicolai creating an arrangement for the refreshments table:

Fergie's Gardeners President Betsy Reid and Alice Ferguson Foundation Deputy Director Libby Campbell:

Alice Ferguson was a painter who had studied at the Corcoran. Her friend and neighbor was the sculptor Leonore Thomas Straus, who had studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. Straus' Blue Rhinoceros was part of an unfinished WPA project which was discovered in a warehouse and installed at Hard Bargain Farm. Doris Sharp stands between Straus' sculptures of Henry "Fergie" Ferguson and Alice atop the gate posts; Henry (l) holds a soccer ball; Alice (r) holds a skull, a reference to her archaeological excavations of Amerindian artifacts on the bottom land of Hard Bargain Farm. Henry was Ivy League educated and a geologist with the U.S. Geologic Survey.

In Alice's time roses covered this entrance.

Today, the entrance is planted with Knock Out Roses and hyacinth beans intermingled with scarlet runner beans:

These insect floor lamps are unique to Hard Bargain Farm:

From the house, one can see the Potomac and into Virginia:
Beyond the east end of the balustrade is this water feature which was fed by a cistern that collected rainwater off the roof.

Grapes above the patio on the northeast side of the house:

From the east side of the garden, one can see Mount Vernon:
From the foot of the garden, one sees the front of the house anchored by the balustrade:
Henry and Alice lived in this log cabin while the house was being constructed; it later became Alice's studio.

Alice died in 1951 and Henry in 1966. Henry named their educational foundation after Alice.

Their environmental classes are growing monarch butterflies for release. A chrysalis is on the grapevine wreath and a caterpillar below:

Shirley's completed arrangement on the refreshments table; the resident elderly black rat snake.

Following the meeting, about 10 participants continued on to Piscataway Park which features a boardwalk across the marsh and a path about a mile along the shoreline of the Potomac to the mouth of Piscataway Creek:

Joyce Meyer, Linda Millette, Mary Beth Cecil, Sonia Johnson and President Julie Harrison of Mount Airy Clay Breakers Garden Club pose with District I Director David Healy:

Restoring the eroding shoreline of Piscataway Park was a stimulus program administered by the Alice Ferguson Foundation:
From the Potomac shore, one sees this view of Hard Bargain Farm:

At the mouth of Piscataway Creek, one can see the lighthouse at Fort Washington. The fort itself is obscured by the trees and, if you enlarged the photo on the right, you can make out the flag at half-staff in remembrance of 9/11:

There were kayakers on Piscataway Creek and the trail went far enough to see the Fort Washington Marina:

A memorial to the Chief Turkey Tayac, who is buried in an ossuary with ancient Piscataway chiefs, is located along the trail.
It was a great day for butterflies: